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What We’re Made Of: Swiftsure Ranch Therapeutic Equestrian Center

South of Bellevue lies a beautiful, sprawling property, home to Swiftsure Ranch, a nonprofit organization founded in 1991 to help those with physical, mental, and emotional needs through equine-assisted activities. The ranch helps many individuals, including veterans, children, the elderly, and others, throughout the Wood River Valley through its many programs. Currently, the organization employees eight staff (six full time, two part time), is assisted by roughly 150 volunteers, and helps about 385 clients a year with its 21 horses. Using these unique therapeutic equine connections, Swiftsure helps empower individuals of all abilities to gain strength and freedom.

The Ranch

Swiftsure Ranch moved to its current location on 191 acres just south of Bellevue in 2011, allowing for more facilities and more expansive grounds. The ranch is joined on the west by BLM lands and mountain and water views; one mile of the Big Wood River passes through the property. The centerpiece of the equine programs is the 32,000-square-foot, indoor, heated arena, which allows the organization to operate year-round. A 20-stall barn accommodates up to 40 horses, and there’s also outdoor paddocks, pastures, and a smaller 12-stall barn. Inside the main arena is a tack room, complete with adaptive saddles, and a specially designed lift to help those get on a horse who may not have the physical ability to do so. Miles of trails wind through aspen and cottonwood trees on the property, allowing for outdoor riding, and a campground/retreat location is available for visiting groups to stay.


For individuals who have been referred by a physical therapist, psychologist, or doctor, there are one-on-one (or group) lessons adapted for that person’s physical, mental, and/or emotional needs. Individuals participate in weekly riding sessions that promote independence, building strength and coordination, improving cognitive processing, and fostering social skills.

But there is also prolific programming through Swiftsure, to serve all manner of residents of the area. All programs are conducted by PATH-certified (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship) instructors. Swiftsure partners with many schools in Blaine County and elsewhere, providing an equine-assisted learning classroom for students in special education programs or their equivalent.

Swiftsure also partners with seniors in the area to bring them to the ranch to experience the horses and property in a variety of ways. The organization is also always looking to expand programming by partnering with other organizations to provide a variety of opportunities to the community.

Swiftsure also works with veterans and other programs, like Camp Rainbow Gold,  and the Idaho School for the Deaf and Blind, to help each specific population through equine-assisted activities and therapeutic riding.
BY: Hayden Seder